Plenty of young guns chose to hit the D-League hardwood in hopes of making a name for themselves as they work their way towards the NBA.
But as fate would have it, George Beamon is someone already with similar notoriety.
The guard took all of New York City by storm while rising up as the star of Manhattan College over the course of his collegiate career. In addition to emerging as the school's fourth leading scorer of all time, Beamon was named M.V.P. of the MAAC tournament after leading Manhattan to its first NCAA tournament bid in a decade during his senior campaign.
Beamon shot 45% from the field and 36% from deep while at Manhattan. Needless to say, he managed to shine on the grandest stages New York City had to offer. He embraced the bright lights of the Big Apple, only going on to thrive under them.
The pressure was on Beamon throughout, but he took such challenges in stride. He led the way for Manhattan as his team accomplished feats that had been unreachable in years prior. He was constantly looked at, not only as a leader, but someone the team trusted with the ball in his hands at the end of any given contest.
New York City has long been considered the mecca of basketball. For someone to establish somewhat of a staring presence, it takes a very specifically skilled type of player. Beamon was clutch, and while in college, logged the type of performances necessary to back up such a reputation.
"I remember when local high school scouting services said George wasn't even a Division I player," said RBA Sports' BJ Bass. "He went on to become one of the best scorers in the country at Manhattan, leading them to the NCAA tourney -- and finishing as one of the school's all-time leading scorers."
Drafted in the third round of the 2014 D-League Draft by the Oklahoma City Blue (affiliate of a quality NBA squad like the Thunder), one would have expected Beamon to take ownership of this new challenge under ideal guidance with an organization like that. Some may have expected him to thrive, even while adjusting to the pro game.
But with Marquis Teague and Semaj Christon in town as well, the opportunity to truly strut his stuff was hard to come by for Beamon. He appeared in just twelve games for the Blue before being waived by the team late last month. They've since (also) added Dwight Buycks and Frank Gaines to their already talented roster.
Alas, Beamon found himself to be the odd man out.
This should in no way mark the end of the line for Beamon and his chosen path in the D-League. Plenty of teams could use a player of his caliber, as he would seemingly be prepared to make an immediate impact. As proven in college, the guard can push the tempo and score in bunches. On the defensive end, he can keep up with opposing ball-handlers and pester them from one end of the floor to the next. At 6'4" and 175 pounds, Beamon was working to embrace more of a combo-guard role in the minor league. His necessary court-vision was steadily improving. Each and every player has things they can continue to work on. Nevertheless, there's no doubt he's the type of player that could provide teams with an injection of life, whether they be gunning towards a playoff push, or simply exploring other options as the season comes to a close.
"What makes George an NBA prospect, in my view, is that in addition to his uncanny ability to score anywhere on the floor, he is a dynamic rebounder and defender from the guard position," Bass added. Beamon averaged 6.5 rebounds as a senior.
Pair up his evident skill-set, along with the type of poise he displayed while performing with so much at stake many times over, and a young gun like Beamon should at least garner consideration for another look in the weeks to come. After all, NBA Summer League comes quickly once the season ultimately concludes. Taking a chance on him could lead to a low-risk, high-reward type of outcome.